PARK CITY — In Utah, this resort community has long been considered the ritzy town with big homes that cost big bucks. But even after the housing bubble burst, Summit County's most famous hamlet seems to be holding its own in the state's tenuous housing market.
Data from the Park City Board of Realtors indicated that year over year home sales in the greater Park City area were up 18 percent for the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year.
"We're up 86 percent from 2009, which was our low point," said Mark Seltenrich, PCBR board member. "(And) this year, we're up 30 percent from 2008."
He said sales volume has rebounded recently, but the number of properties sold is still down about 28 percent from 2007.
The median sales price for properties in the entire market area was $548,750 — up 9 percent from the same period in 2010. However, Seltenrich noted that median prices rose to more than $970,000 during the peak in 2007 and 2008.
He mentioned that while home prices are climbing, sales prices for condominiums and lots are still falling.
Because of its unique location and high-end tourist economy, the Park City housing market has always had a significant portion of second homes included in its inventory. Currently, the proportion of primary and secondary residences is about equal, Seltenrich said.
That niche has enabled the Park City area to maintain a stable economic environment even during the housing turmoil.
Speaking to an audience of Park City area Realtors at the Canyons Resort, Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that Park City has one of the fastest-growing real estate markets in the state. Sales activity is strong, he said, which is a direct result of the positive economic conditions that exist in Utah.
The strength of the tourism and resort industries has drawn real estate investment for primary and secondary residents, he said.
"Park City and Summit County have found a niche in the marketplace that has allowed them to have some vitality and continued economic growth and expansion," he said. "Every community (in Utah) can take a page from Park City's book and ask, 'What can we do to grow?'"
Herbert said the "cure for all that ails us" is a healthy economy — "to grow the economy (and) create wealth and jobs."
He said bolstering economic development would have a far-reaching "ripple effect" of putting more people to work and increasing revenues to state government "to pay their bills."
"Rather than raising taxes, let's raise revenues by expanding and growing the economy," Herbert said.